The pandemic drove the ascent of cloud-based collaboration platforms, which triggered successive rounds of feature wars on the part of platform vendors.
Eventually cooler heads prevailed, and a ‘truce’ was issued in the form of interoperability between rival platforms.
In 2023, things came full circle with competitors seeing who could dig deepest into AI’s treasure trove of features while circulating them platform wide. However, AI was just one of several forces shaping the landscape, and 2024 promises be as exciting. Along with AI, GlobalData expects contact centre, hybrid work, and mobility to witness important new dynamics.
Cloud led thinking
On cloud-based collaboration and contact centre platforms, AI will increasingly be used for predictive capabilities, thus allowing users to be more proactive. For example, anticipating relevant action items from a meeting or customer needs in the contact centre.
AI-powered virtual assistants have commonly been used to generate meeting summaries. Users trust the assistant to accurately capture what occurred in a meeting and to include the most relevant details. For meeting summaries to be beneficial, they need to be correct and tailored to users’ preferences. Therefore in 2024, ensuring the validity of meeting summaries is an issue that vendors will confront head-on.
Assistants that provide tailored outputs are a precursor to autonomous virtual agents that perform complex tasks on a user’s behalf. Some in the AI community fear those agents could be used for nefarious purposes. In 2024, vendors will find themselves scrambling to locate the line between fulfilling users’ desires and opening the door to chaos.
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AI leaves its mark
AI has left an indelible mark on the cloud-based collaboration space and contact centres are no exception. In 2024, the concept of a ‘contact center’ will continue to yield to the broader concept of the ‘customer experience.’ Contact centers tend to be reactive, transactional, and generic.
In contrast, the customer experience is proactive, relationship-oriented, deeply personalised, and executed in real-time, largely thanks to AI. Organisations will become relentless in dissecting the customer journey, such as the summation of a customer’s interactions, and leveraging their findings to elevate the customer experience.
Pivot in the workplace
Despite return-to-office edicts, in 2024 there will remain a sizable portion of workers operating from remote locations. Hybrid work tools have proved to be effective in supporting a dispersed workforce and return-to-office initiatives have typically mandated that employees report to the office only on a part-time basis.
However, business will increasingly look to entice workers to the office full-time by transforming the workplace. Thus, vendors will find growing demand for tools that gather data on physical workspaces and allow facilities managers to better monitor and understand space and assets utilisation.
Return-to-work policies have perpetuated a mobile workforce with a mix of workers in the office and remote locations and others oscillating between the two.
In 2024, there will be increasing need for collaboration solutions that enable workers to seamlessly communicate between mobile and landline devices as well as pivot between calls and meetings. Solutions such as Microsoft Teams Phone for Mobile and Webex Go with AT&T (also marketed as AT&T Cloud Voice with Webex Go) will therefore see strong adoption.